The Power of Specific, and How You Can Become More So

Being specific, clear and precise helps you hit more targets and score more points

One of the first skills I learned in advertising was to be specific. It helped me stay on track when pitching, presenting or feeding back in meetings, and my boss and our clients thanked me for it. They had no time for wishy-washy thinking and information that strayed from the point and didn’t tell them what they wanted to know.

So being specific is a great skill to have. We notice, remember and appreciate people who are specific because they leave a clear picture in our minds. They provide rest for our otherwise time-strapped and information overloaded lives.

People who are specific are a pleasure to work with:

Although ‘specific’ is the first of the letters in the acronym for setting SMART goals, it has a far wider application. Just as it helps you set goals that are clear, detailed and focused it also helps you become a clear, detailed and focused communicator, team-player or leader. Imagine how much more effective you and those you work with can be when what you say and do are guided by aims and objectives that are specific.

People who are specific save time and resources:

The ability to be specific about what you want and how you are going to get it will save you from running off course. It will save you time. Bill Copeland said, “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never scoring.” If your goals, plans, aim, intentions, communication or whatever are not specific then, likewise, you can find yourself waffling, drifting and wasting time and resources.

What specific does it makes it easier to focus your efforts and resources in the right direction.

How to become specific

Specific is really another word for simple. Keep it simple and not only will you be able to understand what it is you are on about, but other people will too. The marathon runner Toshihiko Seko had a very simple training goal. He told it in these 12 words: “I run ten kilometres in the morning and twenty in the evening.” People thought his goal was too simple but he used it to outrun the world’s most gifted, fastest and greatest runners during the 1980s.

You become specific by focusing on the details and getting rid of everything else. You decide on the one, two or three points you want to make. You decide on the colour, size and shape of the new gadget you want to buy. A business owner might set a goal to help one million small business owners become profitable by 2020. That’s a clear and specific description of his or her intention.

To be specific you must know what you want. I remember reading how a man who grew a million-dollar mail order business decided long beforehand what type of business he wanted to build. He chose mail order because he did not want to commute, he did not want to have to deal with customers face to face and he wanted to work from home so he could be around for his family. These ideals guided his choice as to what he would and would not do so it was much easier to know when to say no, even if the offer was tempting.

I find Zig Ziglar’s seven steps to creating goals really useful in thinking about what specific looks like.

  1. Identify what you want.
  2. Spell out why you want it.
  3. List the obstacles that may stand in your way.
  4. Identify who you need to help you reach the goal.
  5. Identify what you need to know to reach the goal.
  6. Develop a plan for how you will achieve it.
  7. Set a date for what you will achieve the goal.

As Zig Ziglar says, this will move you from wish-washy to rock solid.

Do You Know How to Spot a Fake Job Advert?

If it sounds too good to be true, is written in poor grammar and asks you to fork out cash before you start – it’s likely to be a fake job advert

Recent research showing how graduates and students are frequent targets for job scams shows just how important it is to know how to spot a fake job advert – but do you?

Their latest study of 10,000 UK job hunters, carried out by CV Library in partnership with the e-crime non-profit organisation, SAFERJobs, found that 1 in 3 job scam victims are either currently at university or have graduated within the last year.

Scam recruiters tend to target graduates and students because they are often strapped for cash. They are designed with students in mind: ‘no experience necessary’ is a sure applicant-puller for young people who have just started out, are in debt and want a job fast.

With more recruitment being done online it is easier for scammers to operate. With that in mind students and graduates need to be able to tell the difference between a genuine and a fake advert. CV Library says there are some tell-tale signs that show the difference, which you can find out more about on their website below.

Job scammer updated

3 Simple Steps to Instantly Improve Your CV with Guest Blogger Dave Landry Jr.

Since in the majority of cases a CV is the first point of contact between you and your future employer, you cannot underestimate the power of a well structured, creative, and well-thought-out design.

Believe it or not, your CV is the one thing that can either make or break your chances of an interview, and chances are that you would prefer the first option. The good news is that it only takes 3 simple steps to turn an average CV into a winning one. Keep reading to learn how to instantly improve your CV and get a job you have always dreamed about.

Make it digital

Did you know that a typical recruiter looks at a CV for no longer than 7 seconds? The one and only lesson to learn from this fact is that you should take care of a visual part of your resume. Fortunately, the age we live in is called digital, and it can help when it comes to CVs.

Popular online services such as Canva or Kickresume can make your CV look like a real piece of art. With free or paid templates, your CV will become visually appealing, professional, and generally better compared to ones created in Microsoft Word. Impress your HR with a digital resume and win extra seconds in this ‘CV scanning’ game.

Let the force of social media be with you

The truth is that not all social networks were made to have fun. One of them, namely LinkedIn, was created with a noble goal to help employers and employees find each other. Not only does this network help professionals stay connected, but it can also make a significant contribution to your CV. LinkedIn offers a feature called endorsements, and you are strongly advised to use it to boost your own career. To use it, you only need to list your skills and ask your friends or former colleagues for endorsements. As soon as it is done, let the psychological rule of social proof do its job.


    Integrate the right keywords

The phrase ‘keyword’ is mostly used in connection with search engine optimization but what does it have to do with your employment? Oftentimes, especially when it comes to HR departments of large organizations, recruiters use a keyword search to come up with the list of candidates. So think like your recruiter and insert the words mostly related to your desired position in the text of your CV. As the labor market becomes more diverse and globalized, more and more companies choose to use electronic systems of tracking candidates. To put it differently, come up with a list of the right keywords for your CV and the internet’s cold-hearted electronic system will work for you rather than stand between you and your dream job.

I hope these three great tips from our guest blogger Dave Landry Jr. will help make the world of difference to your CV and your job search success!

4 simple ideas to help you focus in the early days of a new job


You have just landed a new job and there’s so much to learn: new colleagues, teams, clients and suppliers, not to mention the targets and deadlines.

These early days, weeks and months at your new job could become overwhelming so the first thing you need to do is to get focused.

Whatever you want to do in life you stand a much better chance of succeeding at it, and succeeding quicker, when you are focused. Just think about people like Richard Branson, Nelson Mandela, Jim Carrey and J K Rowling, whose stories of succeeding against multiple setbacks are well documented. You will find that they all had in common the ability to focus on their goals.

You never really hear about people who lack focus because they never stayed with a goal long enough to achieve it. Focus is really the ability to rule your attention, to decide where you will place it.

The following 4 simple ideas will help you focus in the early days of a new job.

  1. Know what to look at.

    In order to focus, you do of course need to have a goal to work toward, otherwise what are you looking at? Having just started your job you should make sure you know what your manager wants from you. That’s your top priority. Next, be clear on what you personally want to get out of your job, the company or your career. How do they fit together – is there a clash? The number one enemy for lack of focus is not knowing what you want or what other people who are important to your success need from you. You will be like a ship without its compass – steering all over the place. So, get clear today, know what to look at.

  1. Focus on one thing at a time.

    You may want more than one thing, and you may have multiple targets, but you need to focus on one of them at a time. Research clearly shows that we don’t do well when we try to multi task. We have only a limited amount of mental resources available to us at any one time and overloading our brains by trying to focus on too many things at once will send it doolally. As that old Chinese proverb says, “If you chase two rabbits you will lose both.”

    Research also shows that when you move from one task to another it takes the mind time to readjust itself to that new task – which is why we become less productive when constantly distracted and interrupted. You can help yourself by shutting down phones, emails and social media so you can concentrate on completing a task.

  1. Watch your thoughts.

    This is perhaps the most important. People who are focused are disciplined in what they think about. Some people are naturally optimistic but even those who tend towards pessimism can train themselves to become more positive in their thinking habits. Psychology of success speaker and author Denis Waitley says that when you mess up, “Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.” The scientific term for this is cognitive control – we can all control our thoughts with a little willpower. Of course, if you spend your energy thinking about what went wrong you have none left to work through to an answer.

  1. Sharpen your sword.

    If you work at all of the above, you will become sharper. Let me use author Mark Joyner’s illustration to explain what I mean. He said if you study the surface edge of any blunt object, like a spoon, you will see it is diffused and spread over a wider surface. However, a sharp object, like a knife or scissor tip, has a much more pointed edge. If you take the spoon and attempt to cut through say a piece of wood, it is of course going to take you lots of time and energy to do it. The knife is going to do a better and quicker job. This very simple illustration (which you really do not need to do to know which one is most effective) shows that when energy is focused towards a narrower area, the point is sharper. The more diffused the energy is, the less sharp it is.

These are just a few simple ideas to help you focus during the early days of a new job when everything feels overwhelming. Use them and you will be much more effective in your goal to succeed in the company and throughout your career.